Manning Clark's History of Australia - The Musical

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Manning Clark's History of Australia - The Musical
Music Martin Armiger and George Dreyfus with David King
Lyrics Tim Robertson and Don Watson with John Romeril
Book Tim Robertson and Don Watson with John Romeril
Premiere 16 January 1988: Princess Theatre, Melbourne
Productions 1988 Melbourne

Manning Clark's History of Australia - The Musical is an Australian musical written to coincide with the Australian Bicentenary by Tim Robertson and Don Watson with John Romeril with music by Martin Armiger and George Dreyfus with David King. The musical interweaves the life of historian Manning Clark from 1915 to 1988 with Australian history from 1788 to 1915, utilising drama, melodrama, music, song, comedy and circus.[1]

Development[edit]

Watson, Robertson and Romeril began working on a stage adaptation of Clark's (then) five volume A History of Australia in 1983.[2]

Production history[edit]

The original production opened at Melbourne's Princess Theatre on 16 January 1988, produced by John Timlin with investors including the Hoyts Corporation and Qantas, as part of Australian Bicentenary celebrations. It was directed by John Bell with choreography by Mark Daly and musical direction by David King. The cast included Ivar Kants, Michele Fawdon, John McTernan, Jonathan Biggins, Greg Stone, Linda Nagle, Kate Turner, Helen Noonan, Tina Bursill, Jenny Vuletic, Bob Hornery, Carmen Tanti, Ross Williams, Terry Brady, Darryl Emmerson, Geoffrey Jenkins and Ingrid Silveus.[3]

Negative initial reviews and poor ticket sales resulted in the musical facing closure after three weeks.[4][5] In an effort to continue, the cast agreed to forgo wages, the theatre owner waived the rent and Hoyts provided free publicity.[6][7] History of Australia finally closed in late February 1988, well short of initial expectations and without proceeding to a national tour.

A cast recording was released by Polydor in 1988.[8][9][10]

Critical reception[edit]

The musical received a mixed critical reaction. In Melbourne newspaper The Age, theatre critic Leonard Radic said the musical gave an overall impression of "patchiness and a failure of imagination".[4] Playwright Jack Hibberd called Radic's review "disrespectful, captious and harsh" and "choken with terrible misjudgements".[11][12][13]

Musical numbers[edit]

  • "One Story"
  • "We Are They"
  • "Sons of Enlightenment"
  • "Nance the Ferret"
  • "The Wentworth Samba"
  • "The Cricket Song"
  • "There Is No Love" (inc. "Inaugural Orgy of NSW")
  • "We In The Shadows"
  • "Spriit of the Place"
  • "Gold"
  • "Parp Parp"
  • "The Kelly Gang Song"
  • "Reedy River"
  • "Louisa's Song"
  • "Tailoresses" (inc. "Faces in the Street")
  • "The Unknown Soldier"
  • "Gallipolli"
  • "Louisa Underscore"
  • "Song of the Republic"

Musical numbers taken from the cast recording[9][10]

Orchestrations: Martin Armiger, Sharon Calcraft, Duncan Cameron, Ashley Irwin, David King, Derek Williams.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "B[?]CENTENN[?]AL ARTS '88". The Canberra Times. 62, (19,105). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 26 January 1988. p. 9 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE CANBERRA TIMES). Retrieved 28 February 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  2. ^ "Dr Watson presents some elementary history". The Age. Vic. 8 March 1985. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  3. ^ https://www.ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/417
  4. ^ a b Shmith, Michael (5 February 1988). "Manning Clark at a loss as musical fades into history". The Age. Vic. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  5. ^ "History is axed". The Canberra Times. 62, (19,115). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 5 February 1988. p. 11. Retrieved 28 February 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  6. ^ "More History help". The Sydney Morning Herald. NSW. 9 February 1988. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  7. ^ "Manning Clark's show may go on". The Canberra Times. 62, (19,117). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 7 February 1988. p. 1. Retrieved 28 February 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  8. ^ Murphy, Jim (30 June 1988). "A flop is preserved". The Age. Vic. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  9. ^ a b CastAlbums. (1988). Manning Clark's History of Australia: The Musical > Original Australian Cast
  10. ^ a b Manning Clark's History of Australia - The Musical. Discogs
  11. ^ Hibberd, Jack (21 January 1988). "Review of musical is harsh and disrespectful". 
  12. ^ Carter, Paul (1 February 1988). "Stage histories". Monthly Review, The Age. Vic. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  13. ^ "Contrast to wilful wives who storm off in a huff". The Canberra Times. 62, (19,117). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 7 February 1988. p. 2. Retrieved 28 February 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  14. ^ Derek Williams.

External links[edit]